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D’Mitrik Trice charts his own basketball path

The Trice family seems to be more familiar with unfamiliar paths that lead to success. Travis Trice Jr., Michigan State alum and recent New York Knicks signee, proved to his little brother, D’Mitrik, you can get to where you’re going no matter the path it entails.

D’Mitrik, or Meech as his family calls him, attended Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio to play basketball under his father, Travis Trice Sr.

In high school, D’Mitrik achieved a 3.9 GPA, competed in varsity football, and even managed to win the 2015 Ohio Division 1 State Championship in basketball with younger brother, Isaiah, as a teammate.

Reality hit when D’Mitrik tore his meniscus in May of his junior year. He missed crucial AAU basketball tournaments over the summer, as he underwent surgery and rehab to fix his knee.

  The choice to send D’Mitrik to prep school came soon after the realization that his correct path to a future in basketball was not being presented to him.

“The decision to attend IMG Academy came after a lot of prayer and not feeling a confirmation that the remaining schools that still were offering Meech, were where God wanted him,” D’Mitrik’s mother, Julie Trice, said.

D’Mitrik was never given the opportunity to focus and fine tune just one sport. “He went from AAU basketball in July straight into football conditioning. Football season overlapped with basketball season, which overlapped into AAU … it's all we know,” Julie said.

D’Mitrik finalized his decision to attend IMG academy in June and has not regretted it.

“In reality it was my decision to go to IMG. My dad helped the most, but left it to me to decide. I picked IMG because I felt I needed a year before college to focus only on basketball and get my body where I want it to be,” he said.

IMG Academy is a unique boarding school in Bradenton, Florida, with a core purpose to enable athletes to rise to their full potential.

Their basketball program has produced accomplished athletes that now compete at universities like, Arizona, Hofstra, Stanford, and Connecticut. D’Mitrik and his family believe his future is just as bright.

D’Mitrik attends the academy under a program called, university year, because he graduated from high school last year. The post-secondary level is used to enhance an individual’s academics and athletic ability without impeding with NCAA eligibility. The academy allows student-athletes to receive college credit by enrolling in courses offered through the University of South Florida.

D’Mitrik was awarded a full-ride scholarship to attend the academy.

He is currently taking four college level classes that will transfer to the college he decides to enroll and play during the 2016-17 season.

IMG Academy provides the basketball program with four hardwood courts, professional locker and meeting rooms, a Gatorade Sports Science Institute, a 10,000 square foot weight room, a covered turf training area, and advanced vision training and nutrition equipment.

The team is coached by Kenny Natt, who previously coached at Youngstown State University, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, the Canadian Basketball League, and the India national basketball team. Four teams, post grad, national, junior national, and development, are created based on age and skill. Each team competes locally, statewide, and at the national level.

“I've always played against the top athletes in the country and played with them so it's nothing new. I come with the same mindset that I always do and that is that I'm the best player no matter where I'm at,” D’Mitrik said.

A typical day at the academy begins at 6:15 a.m., as D’Mitrik wakes up and heads to team breakfast. Workouts start promptly at 7:15 a.m. and continue until class or a lift workout, depending on the day. Team practice is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a stretching segment afterwards. Mandatory study hall concludes the day.

“Everything is different from high school. Your whole day is planned out for you. It really forces you to grow up and be responsible,” D’Mitrik said. 

Although Julie said D’Mitrik is there to do the one thing that he loves, play basketball, D’Mitrik said both academics and basketball are equally stressed.

Unlike a college program however, there are some rules. Curfew is set for 10 p.m. and student-athletes must sign out before leaving campus.

“It hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be,” D’Mitrik said. He talks to his family every day and has meet plenty of new people.

Julie said the academy has been great for her son. He is playing for a top rated prep school, traveling to compete against other top rated schools, and gets to experience what it is like being away from home and figuring out life without mom and dad around the corner.

Independence and confidence is what I hope that he takes away from this chapter in his life,” she said.

D’Mitrik came home for the first time in three months for a Thanksgiving vacation and Julie said those three months were tough.

D’Mitrik (center) pictured with teammates Aleem Ford (left) and Jonathan Isaac (right).

  “It was an amazing reunion. It was the first time, in a long time, that all seven Trice’s were home together.  He actually walked into the room, it might have been the second day that he was home, and it took me by surprise because I wasn't used to seeing his face in the house,” she said.

D’Mitrik’s biggest role model and older brother, Travis, may not have taken a straight path to success, but has motivated D’Mitrik to strive to be successful throughout the bumps and curves of any pathway in his basketball career.

The next Trice family reunion is set to take place in Ohio at the Flying to the Hoop basketball tournament as the academy will take on Coach Trice and Isaiah in January.

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